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Surge in Religious Extremism: Balochistan civilians likely to be targeted by Pakistani Forces, says Activist

Pakistani security personnel was practically laying siege to the house of a political worker in the Turbat area for four days

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People of Balochistan. Image source: Flickr

New Delhi, September 10, 2016: Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province by area which has experienced insurgency by Baloch separatists, targeted killings, and disappearance of Baloch people by security forces for more than a decade now, along with the sectarian violence against minority Hazara Shia Muslims by fundamentalists.

The ongoing government action against the insurgency and terrorist organizations has resulted in a surge in religious extremism in the region. Hindus, Shias (including Hazaras) and Zikris have been targeted, causing massive migration from Balochistan, mentioned ANI report.

Pakistani forces have launched a fresh wave of military operations across the restive Balochistan province. An activist for a prominent Baloch political outfit has said even civilians have been attacked and abducted in the ongoing operations and has called on the international community to take steps to stop Islamabad’s human rights abuses in Balochistan, quoted the ANI report.

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“In many parts of the Nasirabad district (of the Balochistan province), Pak forces have carried out attacks. Baloch civilians have been harassed and many have been abducted,” said Abdul Nawaz Bugti, Baloch Republican Party’s representative at the United Nations human rights council.

“In different parts of Dera Bugti, Baloch civil populace have been attacked and more than 19 Baloch civilians, including women and children, all belonging to the same family have been abducted,” Bugti told news agency ANI in a video message.

Bugti added that Pakistani security personnel was practically laying siege to the house of a political worker in the Turbat area for four days. “His family, mostly women, and children, is starving and Pakistani forces have denied access to them,” Bugti said to ANI.

ALSO WATCH: Tarek Fatah shares his thoughts on the state-sponsored killings in Pakistan

He had earlier tweeted that Pakistani forces use such tactics to compel Baloch political activists who have gone underground to resurface. They are then abducted, tortured or killed, he alleged.

“It is the time that international media raises their voices and helps save Baloch from the inhuman atrocities committed by Pakistani forces on a daily basis in Balochistan,” he added.

Abdul Nawaz Bugti’s twitter timeline is filled with tweets that are updates of the actions of Pakistani security personnel in Balochistan.

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When questioned by some on whether PM Modi’s mention of Balochistan has had a negative effect on Baloch people, Bugti tweeted, “It hasn’t. Pakistani atrocities have always been there. The positive thing now is that the world knows about them,” Bugti further added.

Modi’s statements have flashed Balochistan as a key regional subject and everyone is talking and researching about it. The Baloch goal was to be recognized as a separate entity instead of being looked at as a disillusioned segment of Pakistan’s domestic politics.

The army and the civilian government both seem to be on the same page. The former government of the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League have shown little interest in pursuing talks with the Baloch leadership.

– prepared by Arya Sharan of NewsGram

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Women of Pakistan Protest Against Workplace Harassment, Child Marriage

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded "the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country"

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Following this, a National Security Committee was also held to discuss Sharif's
Pakistan Flag, wikimedia commons

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, women took to the streets across Pakistan on Friday to protest against sexual harassment in the workplace, child marriage ‘honour killings, wage inequalities and limited political representation.

Organisers hope that the “aurat march” (women’s march) and “aurat azadi march” (women’s liberation march) will draw attention to the struggle for reproductive, economic, and social justice across in Pakistan, reports the Guardian.

The first “Aurat March” was held last year in Karachi; this time, the rally has been extended to more cities, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Larkana and Hyderabad.

The aim is to reach ordinary women in factories, homes and offices, says Nighat Dad, an “aurat march” organiser in Lahore.

“We want an organic movement by women demanding equal access to justice and ending discrimination of all kinds.”

Speakers at the Lahore march ranged from a woman fighting to reform marriage laws to the women who worked on the landmark Punjab Domestic Workers’ Act — a legislation that outlaws child labour in homes and provides maternity benefits to workers.

Another activist, Leena Ghani, noted that Pakistani women have a history of taking to the streets, famously during military dictator Zia ul-Haq’s martial law in the 1980s.

Krishna Kumari works in her office in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Feb. 12, 2018. VOA

While Pakistan has made major strides towards gender equality, poorer, marginalised women and transgender citizens continue to struggle, Ghani added.

Designer Shehzil Malik created a series of striking posters for the “aurat march” that counter typical representations of Pakistani women as docile and subservient.

Women are also protesting against discriminatory policies in universities, where male and female students are afforded different levels of freedom, the Guardian said.

A Pakistani university recently caused a furore on social media by banning women from wearing skinny jeans and sleeveless shirts.

Also Read- Originality is a Dichotomous Terminology, Says Megastar Amitabh Bachchan

In his message on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed his government’s commitment to providing women a safe environment so that they could contribute to the country’s development, Dawn news reported.

“We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring women a secure and enabling environment to play their rightful role in our nation’s development.”

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded “the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country”. (IANS)